Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers: Match Preview

INDANAPOLIS – One night after clinching an emotional roller-coaster win over the Chicago Bulls, the Orlando Magic will take the floor in Indianapolis as they attempt to secure back-to-back wins for the second time this season.

The Magic (5-11) visit the Indiana Pacers (8-6) Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET to ride the wave of momentum created by Jalen Suggs’ winning shot in Chicago just the night before.

“This group is special,” said Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley. “The ability to learn from every experience (and) learn from every game we’ve played. Obviously we got hit by a game winner (against the Sacramento Kings). So our understanding of what needs to be done at the last minute helps keep the boys from getting clean shots. But then the joy they played with and you see the celebration for each other at the end.”

Orlando won’t have much time to celebrate as it prepares for two head-to-head encounters with Indiana and its strong offense. The Pacers’ backcourt trio of Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and rookie Bennedict Mathurin all played a big part in their preseason success.

Haliburton was acquired by the Pacers at the close of last season in a deal that also brought in Hield and sent Domantas Sabonis to Sacramento. The 6-foot-5 guard is just one of two players to average 20+ points and 10+ assists (the other is Philly’s James Harden), shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from the 3rd -Points Range .

Mathurin, the sixth pick overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, has made a great start to his rookie campaign. Among freshmen, the University of Arizona graduate ranks only behind Orlando’s Paolo Banchero in points per game (19.6) and leads all rookies in 3 points per contest (2.6) while earning 44.9 percent shoots from the field and 43.9 percent from deep.

Hield continues to thrive in the role he’s carved out over his seven-year career, leading the team on 3 points per game (3.9) and scoring third-most points per competition (18.2) while knocking out 44, 3 percent of his shot attempts from the ground and 39.9 percent from a distance.

With these three players leading their offensive attack, it’s no surprise Indiana is averaging 116.6 points per game, the fifth-highest in the association. They are fourth in 3 total points scored (209), third in assists per game (28.4), and second in fast break points (17.2) while playing at the fourth fastest pace (102.4) in the NBA.

IN AND OUT: Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia; strain) and Gary Harris (recovering from left knee injuries) are questionable. Banchero (left ankle sprain), Markelle Fultz (broken big left toe), Jonathan Isaac (recovering from a left knee injury) and Moe Wagner (right metatarsal sprain) did not travel with the team and are missing for the Magic.

Questionable for Indiana are Kendall Brown (G League – Two-Way), Haliburton (right ankle) and Trevelin Queen (G League – Two-Way), while Chris Duarte (left ankle sprain) and Daniel Theis (right knee surgery) are questionable out.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It was incredible, especially for Jalen. Second year in the league and still finding his feet in this league. It’s just unbelievable what he was able to do (on Friday) throughout the game. And to end it with that, it’s just super amazing. Very, very lucky for him.” – Carter on Suggs’ winning goal

HOW TO SEE: Watch the game on Bally Sports Florida or tune in to the radio on FM 96.9 The Game.